HGST Reaches 10-Nanometer Patterned-Bit Milestone, Nanotechnology Process Will
Double Today's Disk Drive Data Density
SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 28, 2013
SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --HGST (formerly Hitachi Global
Storage Technologies and now a Western Digital company, NASDAQ: WDC) is
leading the disk drive industry to the forefront in nanolithography, long the
exclusive purview of semiconductor manufacturers, by creating and replicating
minute features that will allow the doubling of hard disk drive (HDD) density
in future disk drives.
HGST Labs announced today they have combined two innovative nanotechnologies
-- self-assembling molecules and nanoimprinting -- to create large areas of
dense patterns of magnetic islands only 10 billionths of a meter (10
nanometers) wide. These features are only about 50 atoms wide and some 100,000
times thinner than a human hair.
"As creators of the original hard disk drive, we are proud to continue our
heritage of innovation with today's nanotechnology advance," said Currie
Munce, vice president, HGST Research. "The emerging techniques of
self-assembling molecules and nanoimprinting utilized at the HGST Labs will
have an enormous impact on nanoscale manufacturing, enabling bit-patterned
media to become a cost-effective means of increasing data densities in
magnetic hard disk drives before the end of the decade."
HGST's discoveries in nanolithography overcome the increasing challenges
associated with photolithography. Long the preferred technology among the
semiconductor industry for achieving successively smaller circuit features
using traditional ever-shorter wavelengths of light, improved optics, masks,
photosensitive materials and clever techniques, photolithography advancements
have slowed as ultraviolet light sources have become too complex and
HGST is becoming a leading player in nanolithography. Today's announcement
represents a creative answer to the problems with photolithography and has
grown out of the storage industry's unique technical and strict cost targets.
HGST nanolithography achievements come at a critical juncture for storage
drives as cloud computing, social networking and mobility create an ever
increasing amount of content that must be stored, managed and accessed
The Nanolithography Process
Tom Albrecht, HGST Fellow, spoke at this week's SPIE Advanced Lithography 2013
conference in San Jose, CA., regarding HGST's nanolithography discoveries. He
described the patent-pending work his team did in partnership with Austin,
Texas-based Molecular Imprints Inc., to make dense patterns of magnetic
islands in about 100,000 circular tracks required for disk drives.
Self-assembling molecules use hybrid polymers, called block copolymers,
composed of segments that repel each other. Coated as a thin film on a
properly prepared surface, the segments line up into perfect rows. The size
of the polymer segments determines the row spacing. After polymer patterns are
created, a chip-industry process called line doubling makes the tiny features
even smaller, creating two separate lines where one existed before. The
patterns are then converted into templates for nanoimprinting, a precision
stamping process that transfers the nanometer-scale pattern onto a chip or
disk substrate. A key challenge proved to be preparing the original surface so
the block copolymers form their patterns in the radial and circular paths
necessary for rotating disk storage. HGST is the first to combine
self-assembling molecules, line doubling and nanoimprinting to make
rectangular features as small as 10 nanometers in such a circular arrangement.
Today's announcement provides a roadmap for how to cost effectively create the
magnetic islands at densities much beyond today's capabilities. The bit
density of HGST's 10-nanometer pattern is double that of today's disk drives
and lab tests show excellent initial read/write and data retention. When
extended to an entire disk, the nanoimprinting process is expected to create
more than a trillion discrete magnetic islands.
"We made our ultra-small features without using any conventional
photolithography," Albrecht said. "With the proper chemistry and surface
preparations, we believe this work is extendible to ever-smaller dimensions."
Because self-assembling molecules create repetitive patterns, researchers
expect they will be best suited to making bit-patterned magnetic media for
disk drives, uniformly spaced regions for computer memories, various wiring
contacts and other periodic features of other types of semiconductor chips.
Nanoimprinting and self assembling molecules are also most easily introduced
in defect-tolerant applications such as disk drives or memory, even as the
industry works to perfect the technologies for more demanding applications.
HGST (formerly known as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies or Hitachi GST), a
Western Digital company (NASDAQ: WDC), develops advanced hard disk drives,
enterprise-class solid state drives, innovative external storage solutions and
services used to store, preserve and manage the world's most valued data.
Founded by the pioneers of hard drives, HGST provides high-value storage for a
broad range of market segments, including Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile
Computing, Consumer Electronics and Personal Storage. HGST was established in
2003 and maintains its U.S. headquarters in San Jose, California. For more
information, please visit the company's website at http://www.hgst.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements
relating to expected availability dates for HDD products. These
forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could
cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the
forward-looking statements, including changes in markets, demand, global
economic conditions and other risks and uncertainties listed in Western
Digital's recent SEC filings, to which your attention is directed. Readers are
cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements,
which speak on as of the date hereof, and HGST/WD undertakes no obligation to
update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or
HGST is a registered trademark of HGST, a Western Digital Company. Western
Digital, WD, and the WD logo are registered trademarks of Western Digital
Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks are properties of their respective
Erin Hartin Katie Watson
HGST Voce Communications
Office: 303-284-7790 Cell: 408-439-2002
SOURCE HGST, A Western Digital Company
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